18/04/2024

The Perth Scorchers became WBBL Champions for the first time. (Photo: WBBL/Twitter)

The Perth Scorchers won the WBBL|07 championship for the first time for the people who've been there from the start, the new faces, and everyone who contributed to a nation-spanning tournament.

They’ve already lost on the biggest stage twice, so the Perth Scorchers’ first WBBL championship was always going to be a special one.

WA’s Big Bash side faced off against the Sydney Sixers in WBBL|02 and WBBL|03’s deciders, ultimately falling short.

The saying does go that third time’s the charm, and it was exactly that for the Scorchers on the home turf of the ‘Furnace’.

It was a particularly sweet night for the players that have been there for the long run. Piepa Cleary, Heather Graham, and Chloe Piparo were all there the last time the Scorchers battled for the trophy, and left with medals around their necks tonight.

Graham is one of the few that has been there since the very beginning, and has seen the highs and the lows of all seven tournaments.

Despite a recent Tasmanian sea change, she stuck fat with her side and is now reaping the rewards.

“I just wanted to get in with the team [before bowling the last ball] to be completely honest,” Graham told FOX Sports post-match.

“We’ve obviously been in the final a couple of times now and we’ve fallen short. To be able to experience that today out here in front of our team and in front of our fans was unreal.

“It means the absolute world. We’ve had a few changes this year, and I think the people that we’ve brought in have fit really well and have bonded with the girls.

“It’s nice for some of the OGs to finally be able to hold up that trophy.”

The Strikers were charging home to finish the match, a genuine chance of making the 29 runs required to win the match off the final two overs.

Graham was tasked with the ball in the death overs, having already claimed the wicket of Laura Wolvaardt. She was facing Maddy Penna on a good knock, and star bowler Amanda-Jade Wellington.

She dismissed Wellington within two balls, and gave just one more run away to Penna.

“[There wasn’t] too much [going through my mind] to be honest,” Graham laughed.

“I was asking Soph [Devine] what she wanted me to bowl to Penna. We know how destructive Penna can be if you miss your length by probably about a millimetre.

“Tried to stick to the plan, but tried to bowl a few half-volleys.”

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But it was a new face who brought the trophy home for the Scorchers, with South African international Marizanne Kapp earning Player of the Match honours.

She was a part of the Sixers side that took down the Scorchers in previous years, but tonight was doing the work for them.

What made this even more impressive was that she was bed-bound for most of the week, battling an illness and opting not to train at all.

It was an opportunity she wasn’t going to miss, especially if it meant being able to bowl to wife and opponent Dane van Niekerk.

“You don’t play in finals much,” Kapp told media post-game.

“It’s amazing. I didn’t think I was going to enjoy my team as much here, because I’m someone [who] doesn’t really move teams. Even over in England, I like to stick to one team.

“But look, it’s absolutely amazing. The girls have been amazing, management, and then [coach Shelley] Nitschke… she’s a superstar. I’ve really enjoyed my time over here in Perth.”

Kapp finished with figures of 31* off 25 balls with the bat, and 1/25 off four overs with the ball for an economy off 6.25.

This included bowling a maiden over to van Niekerk in the third over of the Scorchers’ bowling innings, and claiming the wicket of Bridget Patterson for 17 (11).

The 31-year-old spoke with pride about what her teammates were able to do, with tournament regulars Devine, Graham, Beth Mooney and Lisa Griffith all performing excellently on the night.

“At the end of the day, a bit of experience pulls you through,” Kapp said.

“I didn’t expect this to happen tonight, I thought the Strikers were brilliant as well. I was happy to lose to them, because I felt like they were deserving to have that cup as well.”

After taking the team photos, the Scorchers pulled up the coaches and staff onto the podium to join them. After a hectic tournament with travel across Tasmania, Queensland, South Australia and back to Western Australia across the past month and a half, it was as much their trophy as it was the players’.

It was a gesture that showed the sacrifices that sport in Australia and across the world has had to endure to keep giving audiences the chance to watch the best athletes both domestically and internationally.

Kapp was happy to contribute it if it meant seeing the people around her earn the honour of the WBBL}07 title.

“You feel so bad because these people they get you here, they do everything for you. If you don’t perform you almost feel like you let everyone down,” she said.

“I’m just happy to contribute especially tonight, so hopefully we can enjoy it.”

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